West Midlands weather: Lorry and trees blown over as UK faces 75mph winds

Trees were blown down, rail services disrupted and a market forced to closed as gale-force winds battered the region this morning.

tree
A fallen tree in Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire, after strong winds this morning. Photo: Steve Wood

Fallen trees left motorists and rail users in the West Midlands and Staffordshire with long delays as roads and rail lines were blocked.

In Walsall, one of the worst affected West Midlands areas, Willenhall market was forced to close.

Walsall Council, who run the market, said it was closed ‘in the interest of public safety’ because of ‘weather conditions’.

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Elsewhere in the borough a large tree in a built up residential area in Dudley Fields, Bloxwich, snapped in half and council workers spent the day removing it.

One resident, who lives on Central Drive but did not wish to be named, said: “If the tree would have fallen the other way it would have gone into a house.

“When the wind blows you can see the trees twisting and bending. They are dangerous and need to be chopped down.”

Lichfield Road near the Arboretum was also blocked after a tree came down this afternoon.

Earlier in the day rail services between Four Oaks and Lichfield Trent Valley were suspended for a period after a tree came down and clattered into over-head cables. Engineers from London Midland used a chainsaw to remove the tree.

Birmingham New Street also warned rail users to check before they travelled as other services faced disruption.

Drivers in Staffordshire bore the brunt of delays and closures due to fallen trees.

In Stafford a tree partially blocked the A518 at Coton Avenue leading to morning rush hour delays.

Further to the east drivers were faced with a blocked road near to Freedom Brewery in Abbots Bromley.

Beau Desert Golf Club, based on the Rugeley Road between Cannock and Rugeley, had to close numerous holes because of a fallen tree.

The sixth through to the 14th were all shut because of a ‘danger to golfers’, according to the club.

Staffordshire County Council’s Highways Department said it responded to ‘numerous reports’ of fallen trees in the county yesterday, with the majority in the East Staffordshire and Staffordshire Moorland areas.

Further north in the county, towards Leek, a van was blown off the road.

With more strong winds forecast for tomorrow, Staffordshire Police warned drivers: “Drive with care and tune into your local radio travel alerts for details of specific issues/roads closures.

"Please be patient if you’re held up on one of these roads, authorities will be working as fast as they can to deal with the incidents.”

The force also thanked residents for their ‘community spirit’ during today's high wind, saying their officers and County Council highways team had received lots of help.

The Energy Networks Association has reminded West Midlands and Staffordshire residents that they can call 105 - the new, free national phone line - if the weather damages their power network and affects their electricity supply.

The 105 number is available to everyone in the regions, regardless of which company they buy electricity from, and enables customers to get through to their local network operator to report or get information about a power cut in their area.

Staffordshire County Council’s highways leader Mark Deaville said: “Our highways teams have been very busy since the early hours responding to fallen tree call-outs across the county as a result of the high winds today.

"In some cases the teams have been supported by tree surgeons to clear the roads as quickly as possible.

"We will be monitoring conditions over the next few days with a drop in temperatures and possible snow forecast."

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